Philadelphia in Malawi

In “the warm heart of Africa”, as Malawi is often called, Philadelphia and three partner-organizations are running a leadership training and development program in the little lakeshore-village of Kande, some 50 km south of Nkatha Bay.

The program at Kande – named "Vibitac" (Vision Bible Training & Accommodation Centre) - is a joint venture between Philadelphia, the Ocean Grove Baptist Fellowship (Victoria, Australia), the Pentecostal Revival Church (PRC) and the Revival Church of God (RCG).

Outline:

1) Background
2) Mobile Training
3) Outreaches to Malawi
4) Our Team in Malawi
5) The Road Ahead
6) More about Malawi

Background

Philadelphia's involvement in Malawi started in July 1995 when a team from South Africa visited that country. They returned with a firm conviction that urgent action was needed to help address the critical need for Christian leadership training, especially in the northern regions of Malawi.

LEFT: The main building at Vibitac as seen from the lakeshore.

 

 

 

 

 

Several outreaches and leadership-seminars with teams from South Africa and Zimbabwe followed. During these outreaches to Kande, Philadelphia’s team met representatives of local churches as well as Liz and Barry Smith, a couple from Ocean Grove Baptist Fellowship in Victoria, Australia, who shared our burden for Malawi and the training of Christian leaders. Land had already been allocated in Kande for the purpose of establishing a Bible School, and it was clear that God had a very definite plan for bringing groups from different parts of the globe together on this specific spot!

We decided to join forces and share our knowledge, manpower, energy and resources to ensure maximum effectiveness. This joint venture - Vibitac - was registered as a Christian project in Malawi with Philadelphia, Ocean Grove and two local churches – the Revival Church of God (RCG) and the Pentecostal Revival Church (PRC) - as its trustees.

It was agreed that Philadelphia, in line with our project mission, would be mainly responsible for the actual training while OGBF would focus on establishing infrastructure and the local partners would help provide manpower.

Mobile Training

As in Zimbabwe and Madagascar, Philadelphia makes use of the system of Mobile Training in order to equip current and future leaders for the Church. In addition, however, a fulltime training course is also presented at Vibitac for students who want to complete their training over a shorter period.

From his base at Vibitac in Kande, Bruno travels north, south and west from the lakeshore in order to visit groups of students at several Mobile Training Centres. This method is not only cost-effective, but it also enables students to stay economically active to provide for their families. At the same time, it is also possible for them to constantly share that which they have learnt with their congregations, communities and families.

LEFT: Bruno Spoko conducting classes at Vibitac. Another important part of the training is through practical exposure to ministry.

 

 

 

For this purpose, regular crusades are undertaken where the students are given opportunity to witness, preach and lead people to a relationship with Christ. Students are also responsible for follow-up and discipling of new believers.

After successful completion of their training, students receive certificate as well as a Licentiate in Theology.

Outreaches to Malawi

Philadelphia undertakes at least one scheduled missionary outreach to Malawi each year. Groups of volunteers from different nationalities and denominations travel from South Africa in order to minister and reach out to the people of Malawi on different levels.

Activities during outreaches vary, but may typically include using the Jesus-film, street-evangelism, dramas and mimes, preaching, building and construction, literature distribution, teaching, sport tournaments (e.g. annual Gospel Volleyball Tournament on the beach), and presenting or facilitating advanced training and seminars. Although shorter outreaches may be undertaken at other dates, outreaches usually takes place over a period of about three weeks in June/July.

LEFT: Team members praying with a local believer’s sick baby during street work.

 

 

 

 

Individuals or groups who are interested to join these exciting and life-changing experiences, should contact our head-office in South Africa at tel + (27) 12-567-6512 / (27) 82-925-4125 or send us an
e-mail at outreach@philadelphiaproject.co.za

The Road Ahead

The need for trained leadership for the Church in Malawi is so vast that even if Philadelphia and other like-minded ministries should increase our efforts a hundred-fold, it would still take some years to catch up with the backlog. However, we are slowly but surely making very good progress. Increasingly we are seeing trained men and women standing up and making a difference in the lives of others by sharing the love, power and grace of Jesus Christ through their lives and ministries.

New Base north of Nkhata Bay

With the program at Kande (Vibitac) going well, Philadelphia has now reached the point where we need to take the “next step” as far as our work in Malawi is concerned: namely to expand into other geographical and ministry areas.

In July 2006, after a lot of prayers, discussions and thinking, the Management Board in South Africa has decided to acquire and develop a new stand a few kilometers north of Nkhata Bay. The vision is to develop this new site to provide accommodation (chalets and camping) to generate funds that would be ploughed back into the ministry. It could also provide facilities for outreach teams and youth adventure camps from all over the world As the site is located on a beautiful stretch of the lakeshore whilst also being accessible by road, it would be ideal for such a venture.

At the same time, the site would be developed as a base from where the current Leadership Training Program and Child Evangelism Program could be expanded into areas not currently accessible from the base at Kande. It is possible to even expend into Southern Tanzania from here, as over the years we have received many requests from there to help with the training of leaders in that area.

We at Philadelphia firmly believe that the Lord has a definite plan for northern Malawi and that the Church in that area has the ability to really make a difference in that area and in His Kingdom! Right now, we would really appreciate if you could pray with us for this new venture as we need the Lord to guide, provide and empower every step of the way.

Please contact us by e-mail (enquiries@philadelphiaproject.co.za) if you or your organization needs more information on this exciting new venture or Philadelphia’s work in Malawi in general. Meanwhile please pray with us and expect the Lord to answer our prayers in a powerful way so that is Name truly be glorified in Malawi!

The Team in Malawi

Bruno and Runei Spoko (Project Manager)
In June 2002, Past Bruno Spoko, previously from Africa Continent Mission Church in Blantyre, joined the team as Philadelphia's Project Manager in Malawi. Trading the luxuries of city life to live in the remote countryside was just one of several challenges for Bruno and wife Runei. They also had to deal with differences in culture and language (most people in the Kande-area are ChiTonga while the Spokos are Chichewa) and make difficult desicions regarding their children's schooling.

The couple tackled these challenges head-on and proved themselves to be truly dedicated to Christ and the ministry for which He called them. Bruno, who has qualifications as a teacher as well as pastor, is specifically responsible for managing, teaching and promoting the 3-year Licentiate in Theology-course. He also assists in other training programs, outreaches and related activities at Vibitac.

Runei is a teacher at a local primary school and is also involved in children’s ministry. The couple has five children.

LEFT: Bruno and Runei Spoko.

 

 

 


Aubrey Maunda (Children's Ministry)
Aubrey Maunda is a young man who came to Christ during an outreach in Nkhata Bay in 1998 and is now heading Philadelphia's children's ministry in Malawi. Aubrey has been a co-worker of Philadelphia since 2000, and has more than proven himself during outreaches – especially since 2003 when he did most of the preparations for the Gospel Volleyball Tournaments.

LEFT: Aubrey Maunda.

 

 

 

 


Although Aubrey enrolled for the Leadership Training Program (by November '05 he still had 1 Phase to complete before qualifying), he has always had a passion for working with children. He says children are not only the future of Africa; they are also an important part of the presence. With this passion burning in his heart, Aubrey completed a basic course in children's ministry in Malawi, followed by an advanced "Train the Trainer"-course at Petra College near Witrivier (South Africa).

With the help of the rest of the team in Malawi, Aubrey plans to start training the first people for children's ministry early in 2006. The plan is to train teachers and children's workers to enable them to start functional children's ministries in schools and local congregations.

Aubrey says getting married is definitely on his agenda, but at the moment launching his ministry is a higher priority, while he waits upon the Lord to "provide the right partner" for marriage.

Sydney and Gertruid Kansengwa
Certainly the backbone of the team in Malawi is Sydney Kansengwa, previously a pastor of the Penacostal Revival Church and another of the founding pioneers of Vibitac. Sydney had been appointed as General Project Manager at Vibitac during the early phases and over the years had been performing his duties amidst numerous hardships and challenges.

LEFT: Sydney Kansengwa

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Apart from being being overall responsible for the daily running of Vibitac, Sydney laso sees to the wellbeing of the rest of the team. He has a heart for the lost and as evangelism is one of his God-given gifts, Sydney is regularly involved in crusades and other evangelism activities.

Barry and Liz Smith
The pioneers of the work at Vibitac were Barry and Liz Smith together with local co-workers such as Harrison Kamanga and Sydney Kansengwa (PRC). They had to establish the infrastructure and do the groundwork that would eventually lead to the establishment of Vibitac as a functional Bible School.

LEFT: Barry and Liz Smith, - two pioneers in the establishment of Vibitac.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Coming from a highly-developed country such as Australia, Barry and Liz not only had to adapt to literally living in the remote African bush, but they also had to start a Bible School from scratch!
Although they have since returned to Australia, they saw to the establishment of most of the large structures at Vibitac and were also closely involved with establishing several of the ongoing ministries and projects there.

Adriaan Bosman
In May 2000, Adriaan Bosman, who previously worked on several missionary projects in South Africa and Malawi, joined Philadelphia and set off for Kande. As local Project Manager, he was responsible for launching the training program and liasoning with existing churches and their leadership.

LEFT: Adriaan and Rinske Bosman during a recent visit to South Africa.

 

 


 

In December 2000, the first 10 students (from different denominational backgrounds) completed the first phase of their training. Unfortunately, Adriaan had to return to South Africa the following year because of health reasons.

He later returned to Malawi where he met Rinske at the Ywam base in Blantyre. The two has since been married and moved to Rinske's native country Netherlands, but has a vision of one day returning to fulltime ministry.

The Road Ahead

Although the leadership-training program in Malawi took longer to really get under way than first hoped, it is well under way and requests from individuals and churches that needs training are still streaming in, even from as far as Tanzania in the north.

The remoteness of the area causes various logistical problems, and we therefore need to extend our facilities and manpower at Kande. At present, we are trusting the Lord to supply teams and individuals who would be prepared to go to Kande as short-term missionaries (1 – 6 months) to help with building and development projects. Of course, this means that we also need the funds to acquire the necessary materials for these developments.

To summarize - we firmly believe that the Lord has a definite plan for northern Malawi and that the people of that area have the ability to really make a difference in His Kingdom! What a privilege to be a part of this!

More about Malawi:

Latest Newsletter from Malawi
Chichewa Traditional Religion (under construction)
General facts on Malawi

CONTACT-DETAIL IN MALAWI:

P.O. Box 29
Vibitac
Kande (Nkhata Bay)
Malawi

Cell: + 265-83-80807
E-mail: brunospoko2006@hotmail.com


Getting as exited as we are? See, Philadelphia has full-time teams in several African countries, but we also rely strongly on volunteers to become involved by contributing their prayers, time, energy and finances. So why don’t you do something about it right now? Alternatively, you can first read about our projects in Zimbabwe, Malawi and Madagascar, get some more facts on Africa, read about the history of the Cross in Africa or just share your thoughts with us?


“Mission Impossible” – that would be the much talked-about secular African Renaissance
without Jesus Christ!
 
 
 
PRETORIA HEAD OFFICE CONTACT DETAILS:
TEL: + 27 (12) 567-6512
CELL: + 27 82 925 4125
EMAIL: enquiries@philadelphiaproject.co.za
P.O. Box 14137, Sinoville (South Africa) 0129